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News Wrap: In Baghdad, 18 Car Bombs Explode at Rush Hour

July 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT

KWAME HOLMAN: At least 58 people died in a wave of car bombings across Iraq today. It was the latest in an upsurge of violence that’s claimed nearly 700 lives this month alone. The 18 explosions rang out at rush hour, targeting mostly Shiite districts in Baghdad. Video from the scene showed the twisted remains of cars and debris in the streets.

Egypt was rocked by new bloodshed over the weekend, and Europe’s top diplomat arrived today, hoping to help calm things. Early on Saturday, security forces killed at least 83 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi at a Cairo sit-in. The Interior Ministry insisted its police fired only tear gas.

Today, European Union foreign minister Catherine Ashton tried to mediate an end to the violence. She urged the interim government to reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In Washington, meanwhile, a White House spokesman condemned the weekend violence.

JOSH EARNEST, White House: It’s the view of the United States that Egyptian authorities have a moral and legal obligation to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. And violence not only further sets back the process of reconciliation and democratization in Egypt, but it will negatively impact regional stability.

KWAME HOLMAN: The Obama administration has so far stopped short of making any decision to suspend U.S. military aid to Egypt.

In Syria, state media reported government troops have captured a key rebel stronghold in the city of Homs. In response, activists put out video showing scattered fighting is continuing. They denied the army had taken full control of the district. President Assad’s forces launched an offensive in Homs a month ago after capturing Qusayr, a strategic town near the border with Lebanon.

A major dragnet is under way in France, after a lone gunman stole $136 million worth of diamond jewelry on Sunday. Police say the man held up three guards and vendors during a diamond show at a luxury hotel in Cannes. He grabbed the jewels and ran out in less than a minute. It’s the largest in a series of major robberies in France.

The U.S. Senate confirmed James Comey this evening as the new director of the FBI by a vote of 93-1. Comey served as deputy attorney general for a time under President George W. Bush. He will succeed Robert Mueller, who became FBI director just before the 9/11 attacks.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 37 points to close just below 15522. The Nasdaq fell 14 points to close at 3599.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.